Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Recap

I slept much better the night before the half. I have felt very calm about this race for weeks. After Pittsburgh I formed a knot in my left calf. It has been so painful for the past week. I have done my best to roll it as much as I could and started to notice a bruise on my calf. No time to focus on it now, I want to go sub 1:55!

I headed out on my walk to bag check. Another chilly morning meant Steff was checking a bag. I saw one of my Oiselle teammates, Leana, on the way there. It was nice to chat with someone. 

Passing by the mile six water station

We met up with some of the other ladies. Me and Sarah (far right) have been chatting for what seems like forever, and it was so nice to finally meet. Erin, in the middle, would reappear at different points in my race. 

L to R: Tiffany, Leana, Erin, Me and Sarah

I made my way to corral A and I was shocked to see a two hour pace team. Really shocked. I saw Erin again and we both moved up towards the front, like with the elites. Slightly intimidating but pretty cool to think that I earned this spot. My main goal for this race was to not weave. I have such a terrible weaving problem at the beginning of races that I knew it was something I needed to work on. 

When the race started I noticed I started six seconds after the gun went off. How freaking cool is that! The race starts on a downhill, which is the first time I passed Erin. It was the same course as the 10K. The mile marker would be at the top of the overpass. Yay, a hill! Mile one: 8:30. 

Mile two was a downhill, followed by the same tunnel from yesterday. Since I was actually looking at my watch today I noticed my distance was off a little bit due to it. This is the point where remembering I started six seconds from the start really comes in handy. No math needed! We entered Disney's California Adventure, which was backwards from yesterday. I felt very alone at this point, the crowd was very thin, which was really cool. 

We went back through Cars Land and I could even see the leader! We were all cheering for her and she was cheering for us! Super cool!  Mile two: 8:13. 

Mile three we entered Disney Land. If you have done a Disney race before, you know how the volunteers corral the spectators trying to cross through the course. They take strings and cut off half of the course. Well, I was the lucky person to be at the exact point when the split happened. It was really cool because I felt like I was running alone. The entrance to Disney Land was the three mile mark, my 5K split was 26:27. 

Right after the 5K mat I felt my hair start to fall out of my bun. I use about four hair ties to hold my bun up, so that it felt this way was not correct, especially with ten miles left. Lucky for me Chip and Dale were waiting along Main Street, and Goofy had joined in on the fun! Chip and Dale are my husbands favorite Disney characters and mine is Goofy. It was a sign. There were two women in front of me, giving me time to fix my hair. The funny thing is the photo never showed up on my marathonfoto page. Real mad! We continued through the park and I knew I had time to make up. Mile four: 9:25. 

Now I knew it was time for business. If I wanted to hit my sub 1:55 goal, I could not afford another nine minute mile. As I was getting ready to leave Disney Land, I saw Donald and Pluto with no line! I sprinted over, got a quick photo and kept moving. As we left Disney Land there was another tunnel. My watch became very off at this point, .1 to be exact, so my mile times will be a little off to those keeping count at home. Mile five: 8:33. 

Next the journey took me to Downtown Disney. Tons of crowd support here! I secretly knew this was the last real support there would be until the finish. The Red Hat Society ladies were out in full force cheering us on! It was awesome! They were about seven deep with lawn chairs for about a quarter mile. I waved to them all as I ran by. The six mile marker was right before we left Downtown Disney. I was pumped to see my 10K time: 53:49. 

Joe had told me he would see me around the six and a half mile marker. We are straight out on city roads right now with signs that say "shhh neighbors sleeping". Thank goodness for headphones! 

When I saw Joe I waved frantically. 

I was screaming "SIX SIX!!" Joe didn't understand me, until I flat out screamed "SIX SECONDS FROM THE START!" He got it after that. That was all, I was all alone from there. Mile seven: 8:15.

Right at the mile seven marker, I saw Erin again, who must have passed me during my hair tie malfunction. She looked to really be struggling and I felt so terrible. I tried to talk to her a little bit, told her she looked fantastic and that I was so proud of her. This is what being about of the Oiselle Flock is all about people. We may have just met an hour and a half ago, but she is my teammate and she needed me! Erin told me I looked strong and I was off. There was an awesome dance crew out around this time and I just wanted to stop and watch them! Keep going Steff, you are putting together a great race! Mile eight: 8:21. 

I have had a problem with my water bottle leaking for a while now, so I saw a sign that water was ahead and knew I needed to fill up. It took me almost a quarter of a mile to get the lid off of the bottle! (Which is more puzzling of where the leaking is coming from) At the water stop three super nice volunteers grab a whole bunch of water and poured it in my bottle. I am begging for a hill at this point. It is so flat and boring! I am entertaining myself by thanking all the police officers. Mile nine: 8:33. 

All of mile 10 was on a straight road. Straight flat road. There were some cheer squads out, but still I REALLY want a hill. I am annoyed by my ponytail, my calf hurts and I still feel very alone. How is this possible? I haven't had anyone pass me in awhile, but I keep passing people. Mile 10: 8:40 - total time 1:26. 

All that was left was a 5K, I can do that. I wanted to hold back on mile 11 because I saw the mile 12 marker earlier in the race and knew what to expect. I saw a woman in a tutu and she was running on her tip toes. I couldn't believe it! I stayed with her for the mile, she was keeping a nice pace. Mile 11: 8:42. 

It was go time. Two miles left and I felt really good. I gave a head nod to twinkle toes and turned it up. I could tell some of the ladies I was passing were not doing very good. It was getting sunny outside and a little warm but I was not really affected by it. I could see the mile 12 marker in the distance and I wondered how much I could pick it up to get close to my PR. Mile 12: 8:33. 

As soon as the mile 12 marker came up I realized we were going under the tunnel again. THANK GOODNESS!! I GET A HILL! Home girl powered down and up that hill. I got some weird looks from the women around me. Yes, I like hills and I feel so awesome right now, the second wind rocks! Some how we ended up on the same final mile as yesterday. Being the directionally challenged person that I am, I just followed the pack. A quick look at my watch and I knew I was going to be a little short on my PR, but I knew I could still hit my A goal of a 1:53! Mile 13: 8:25. 

I started to sprint. I heard Joe and my in-laws screaming for me as I headed towards the finish. I saw Mickey and gave him a high five. Crossed the finish line and was so relived. I finally broke through that 1:57 mark! Official time: 1:53:34. I placed in the top 220 females out of over 11,000 and top 50 in my age group! Seriously! What is going on?!?

I got my medals and ended up seeing another Flock member, Casey. I got my bag and met Joe. He had my 10K medal for my pictures. 

I checked my phone while I waited and noticed that runner tracker had me finish in 1:32. Ummmm no. Then it had me finishing in 1:40! I'm totally flattered, but so not correct. Luckily, it all got sorted out. 

Thanks for sending me this, Brooke! Notice that 5K split lol!!

Since I could not find an elevation chart ANYWHERE for this race, hopefully this can help people getting ready for next year!


I made sure those medals made it back to the park for some pictures!

I even waited in line for a half hour to get my picture with Tink, duh! 

The race itself was great. I haven't felt this great about a race in a really long time. If I didn't have the hair tie malfunction, I could have been really close to my PR. It makes me that much more motivated for the next training cycle to get there. I was only two minutes off my PR with a modified training plan and racing a 5K and relay leg the week before! 

Have you ever had a mishap during a race? Did it mentally mess with you or did you power through? 


  1. What a great race! You did such an awesome job, and I loved the pictures! Mine never turn out very well. Great recap!

  2. I'm so glad you had such a great race, Steff! This is SOOOO exciting! I'm working really hard so that, one day, maybe I can get back under that two hour mark, as well. You NAILED it! I'm so excited for you!

  3. Congrats on a great race. It is so much fun running the Disney races and you clearly had a fun yet really great run. Sorry you had the mishap with your hair and then no photo?? I PR'd the 10k course the day before and was delighted to place second in my age group. I don't understand when runners seem upset when others "race" at Disney. I love earning the AG award and came away with two from the weekend!

  4. Great job! You were in a fast division!

  5. Thanks! It was super fast, I was shocked!

  6. Thanks so much Tara! It was such a soul warming moment! I feel like I can tackle anything!

  7. Thanks Gretchen! I normally don't photograph well, but those camera guys were great, and everywhere!